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Race May Factor Into Higher Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Higher rates seen in blacks versus whites; often at younger ages

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Blacks are more likely than whites to experience sudden cardiac arrest and it often occurs at an earlier age in blacks than in whites, according to research published online July 20 in Circulation.

Sumeet Chugh, M.D., associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, and colleagues collected data on 1,262 whites and 126 blacks. They all had experienced sudden cardiac arrest between 2002 and 2012. While 33 percent of the whites in the study had diabetes, 52 percent of the blacks did. Hypertension was an issue for 77 percent of the blacks, compared to 65 percent of the whites. Chronic renal insufficiency was nearly twice as likely in blacks, with 34 percent of them having the condition, the researchers found.

Blacks in the United States tend to have sudden cardiac arrest an average of six years earlier than whites, Chugh told HealthDay. In his study, he found other major differences as well. “Blacks, in addition to being younger, tended to have more diabetes, more high blood pressure, and more kidney problems, or chronic renal disease,” he said.

Chugh added that he isn’t certain what’s driving the differences in sudden cardiac arrest between blacks and whites. It’s possible it might be genetics, cultural differences in lifestyle or other factors, he suggested. Inadequate health coverage may be another factor.

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